FDA issues alert about sharing of insulin pens

Sharing pens, cartridges could put patients at risk for HIV, hepatitis, agency says

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration's latest message to consumers and healthcare professionals seems like a no-brainer: "Insulin pens are not for sharing."

But the agency said it knew of two undisclosed hospitals that it said had reused the cartridge components of insulin pens in administering insulin to more than 2,000 patients, though the hospitals reportedly changed the pens themselves.

This may have put the patients at risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne viruses, the agency said, citing an alert it issued in March 2009. The FDA said the hospitals have been contacting the patients involved and offering to test them for hepatitis and HIV; some of the patients reportedly have tested positive for hepatitis C, though whether they contracted it from the pens remains unclear.

 


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